Do Patriots Love Their Country?

Patriot, a noun. A cursory look through some formal definitions reveals:

* A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.

* one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.

And the rest are similar. Essentially, there are 3 parts in that which are interesting:

country, defend against enemies and support of authority.

Of that, the most interesting is country. Do real patriots really love their country? Well, what is a country?

Again, search to the rescue and we get something long the lines of:

A nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory. And others referring to a piece of land. There are other definitions of the word country, the most interesting in this context being

The people of a nation

The people of a nation. Now if we look at the origin of the patriot:

1590s, “compatriot,” from Middle French patriote (15c.) and directly from Late Latin patriota “fellow-countryman” [link]

Essentially, a patriot is a person who loves their fellow countrymen. Not the piece of land. The people.

It’s easy to be all patriotic about your country but then easily hate, dislike, despise, think-lowly-of, your fellow countrymen. That doesn’t make you a patriot. That makes you confused and irrational. You’re a patriot only once you start loving your fellow countrymen, regardless of their opinions.

And locally, we have many “Proudly South African” enterprises, groups and individuals. But how many only love the piece of land and find it too easy, even habitual, to denigrate their own countrymen?

Patriotism is a powerfully romantic ideal, but is there enough evidence to substantiate it’s reality?